Target Market vs Target Audience, do you know the difference?

Getting the difference between Target Market and Target Audience is a must. It defines how your marketing efforts are going to be aimed, what approach you’re going to use, and which resources you’ll implement in order to reach that desired market and audiences.

These two terms, Target Market and Target Audience, often get mixed up and mistaken. Some might think they’re the same, or that they don’t have anything to do with the other. Don’t believe that! Here we will clarify that confusion and give you a better understanding of each one.

According to Oberlo, a Target Market is “a specific, defined segment of consumers that a company plans to serve with its products or services”, and a Target Audience is “a group that has significant potential to respond positively to a brand message”.

To put it in simpler words, a Target Audience it’s a narrowed version of a Target Market, since it is found within it with a more specific and detailed definition, and refers specifically to the group of consumers targeted by marketing messaging.

And what is “marketing messaging”? On a SproutSocial article, it is defined as “how a brand communicates to its customers and highlights the value of its products”. Those messages refer to not only the actual words and phrases used by a brand in advertising, but also feelings and emotions associated with what they say.

Target Market vs Target Audience

In order to set them apart, you need to know the key differences between them. The factors that differentiate them are related to practical implications:

The Target Market has an impact on all the decisions that a business makes: the products or services are designed to meet the needs and solve the pain-points of that established Target Market. Every little aspect revolves around them: the pricing decision, packaging style (if apply), and sales processes are put together around their shopping preferences.

On the other hand, the Target Audience only has its impact on decisions related to specific marketing messages, term that we defined a few paragraphs before.

Because of this, Target Markets are usually the final user of a service or product, while Target Audiences may or may not be.

Now, you may be wondering: how can I determine my Target Market and Target Audience? Keep reading below to find the answer.

Determining your Target Market and Target Audience

According to Amocrm, by having this in mind: “the broader pool of potential clients is the target market; at the same time, the specific group of shoppers is the target audience”, you need to determine who are your Target Market and Target Audience.

It is important to have a clear understanding of the difference between the people who can potentially buy your product/service, and the ones who are going to see your aimed message inviting them to consider purchasing it.

For this, you also need to recognize who is listening and who’s not, what specific campaign could work for them, study their pain-points and what do you offer that could solve them, and look the trends and get the human behavior, that can change between every chosen target, as everyone feel their troubles in a different way.

You can read the following article in order to have a better insight on how to know what your potential client’s pain-points are and how to create tailored offers to solve them: “Irresistible Offers to get more clients”.

Now, let’s follow the steps suggested by the Business Department of the Australian Government to effectively define your Target Market:

1. Research your market

To effectively define your Target Market, you need to do some research. Getting statistics and extra data help you understand your potential clients and their needs, and therefore make better marketing decisions. You can use handy sources like government statistics and data, look for their industry/niche and location on Google and see what it shows, and even search on social media platforms or use tools and websites like Maps and Yelp.

2. Segment your market

Once you have chosen your Target Market, segment it: divide them into groups of buyers with similar preferences and buying habits. For example, the athletic shoe industry is split into several segmented groups: first by gender, and then by the activity or sport.

3. Define your target customers

With the intention of defining your target customers, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are they male or female?
  • How old are they?
  • Where do they live?
  • What is their education level?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • What is their average income?

These are the basic questions to identify who your target customers are, but you can also wonder how they measure achievement, what their objectives are, who their boss is, what are their responsibilities at work, which job tools they use, what are their preferred communication channels and in which social media platforms you can find them.

4. Understand their interests and buying habits

Here, ask these questions:

  • What motivates them to make a purchase?
  • What are their common interests?
  • Who makes the buying decisions?
  • How often do they purchase a product/service?
  • Do they shop online or prefer traditional buying methods?
  • How long does it take them to make a buying decision?
  • What form of media do they rely on for information?
  • How far do they go to make a purchase?
  • What other products/services do they buy?

Now, your aim is to explain how your product or service will fit into their specific lifestyle and how it can fulfill their needs.

And to define your Target Audience, we will use the steps suggested by Marketing Evolution:

1. Analyze your customer base

The best way to determine your Target Audience, is to give a look to the people that already buys your products or services. And this leads us to the questions pointed before: how old are they, where do they live, what are their interests? Do your investigation and understand who your current clients are.

2. Conduct market research and identify industry trends

By gathering information about the customers’ needs and preferences in the market where your business is at, so you can be able to know what are the holes that you can fill in with what you’re offering. Also, look at trends for similar products or services to see where they are putting all their efforts in, and focus on providing a unique value that sets you apart from what’s currently out there.

3. Research competitors

You can learn a lot from analyzing what your competitors are doing. See who are they usually selling their services/products to, and how they are going on about it. Are they focusing on the decision marker or the supporter? Are they using online or offline channels? Studying their methods can allow you to know what difference you bring to the table.

4. Create personas

This is a great way to deepen into the specific segments on which your Target Audience is shaped. Personas allow you to determine the general demographics, personalities and needs of your target consumers (which we explained how to define above). It is recommended to develop between three and five personas.

5. Continuously revise

As you gather more information and interact with customers, you’ll get an accurate understanding of your Target Audiences. Based on this, you need to refine your processes and polish personas to achieve better results. Remember that experience is learning, so you must apply your acquired knowledge to your business and keep getting better.

I already explained the process on how to define your Target Audience, but now that we’re here, let’s deepen on the way to further identify it through this Free Template we created just for you! Click on the link below and start working on it:

Getting the difference between Target Market and Target Audience is a must. It defines how your marketing efforts are going to be aimed, what approach you’re going to use, and which resources you’ll implement in order to reach that desired market and audiences.

We know all of this is just the theory, so if you’d like to see how we put it to practice or to also get more knowledge in a condensed form, we gladly invite you to give a look to our subscriptions, which include exclusive templates, our know-how put to action through short videos, recorded webinars and events, and even more! Check out all the things we have to offer on these subscriptions by clicking here:

Rosa Quijada

Rosa Quijada

Offering solutions is something she’s passionate about. Audiovisual Sciences and Photography professional, with plenty of experience in diverse areas that go from virtual assistance to customer service. Her drive is to get things done and be her best self to accomplish her goals.

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